It can be incredibly exciting when we first start to ‘wake up’ to the wonder that, “Yes, I am Presence! I am this Knowing! And yes, experience is not what I ever thought it to be: I don’t experience a world of solid, independently existing things; there is an ever fresh flow of colours, sounds, smells and tastes, of sensations, thoughts and feelings arising, that is indivisible from the Knowing of it, that includes the very ‘me’ I imagined myself to exclusively be! Yes! Yes! Wow!!!”
For me, I was then lucky enough to meet my wife and have children and, in the crucible of family life, have all my still-existing reactivity reflected right back in my face! What a blessing! I was forced to acknowledge that, “Oh, yeah, nothing has changed here, actually; all the old patterns are still running.”
And then a beautiful new journey began: of shining the light of that recognition deep into the shadowy, ‘hidden’ areas of experience; of sincerely wondering, “What beliefs are still being held onto here?” And seeing, “Oh, yes, there it is: abandonment from God, deficiency—I’m not good enough, I’m not worthy, I’m not allowed, I’m unlovable—and shame for that deficiency; sadness, grief for the loss of Wholeness, anger, rage, along with tightness in the head, chest, abdomen, hips, legs, feet; and, what’s this? Oh wow, I’m a monster! I’m a diabolical monster that doesn’t even deserve to be alive!” And acknowledging it, finally, not wallowing in it or acting it out or trying to get rid of it, but facing it, including it, feeling it, loving it, allowing those voices to finally be heard, to unfurl.
And more than that: the I that I Am, it’s not just being James here, it’s being that murderer and that paedophile, it’s the same ‘I’ wrapped up in a particular collection of beliefs and ways of operating; opening to that too, that’s instant compassion right there. I don’t have to accept or support that kind of behaviour, or become a masochist and go seeking that stuff out; it’s about acknowledgment, full acknowledgment, not denying and splitting off.
This is a part of the message that I really want to bring forward, because for me it was utterly vital, and still is—still is! These tendencies and clenches in the body are still working their way out, and that’s the paradox: this Presence that we deeply are is always already complete, and yet in manifestation there is unending potential for growth and change. It’s vital because it’s only in fully meeting these denied and repressed patterns and holdings, that they can unfold and release the energy and creativity locked inside—that’s transformation.
What can happen is that we have a genuine recognition, but then our pristine, bulletproof philosophy of ‘there’s no-one here, nothing to do, nothing to get’, or whatever dogma we believe in, becomes the new safe place to cling to, to avoid fully facing what’s still lurking in the shadows; then there can be no real transformation—we can actually become more in denial, more dishonest than ever before.
That’s not meant as an accusation; because when I think back in my own experience, I didn’t even realise when I was being dishonest. But in its own time there’s a sensitivity that comes, and a courageous dropping of the facades, and we start to really acknowledge just how dishonest we’ve been. We’re not then beating ourself up for that—that’s only more of the same nonsense; it’s just clarity, it’s just being open about what’s really going on. There’s such beauty in that: more and more clarity, more and more honesty.
That’s why I love holding my meetings and retreats: simply being together with a group of people without anyone needing to pretend in any way—not pretending about who we are and trying to present some kind of front, some kind of cleverness, or specialness; but also not pretending spiritually either, that we know something, that ‘this is how it is’, or worrying about using the ‘correct’ language or getting it ‘right’.
It’s just so delicious when we share that deep honesty and openness, when we’re simply here, together, with nothing to hold; that’s when the divisions fall apart, that’s when we know ourself as Love.